The injury that sidelined New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul for the final four games of the 2016 regular season and a playoff loss was more serious than originally disclosed.
Pierre-Paul had four procedures — two on his groin, two on his abdomen — during surgery in December.
“Bet you all didn’t know that,” Pierre-Paul said Thursday.
All that was known at the time was that Pierre-Paul was having a sports hernia and abdominal issue repaired. It turned out to be a little more serious.
Still, Pierre-Paul said after the season he would have returned if the Giants had advanced to the divisional playoff round. He said he’s been running and training hard this offseason, and he has been a full participant during the first few days of the team’s offseason workout program.
“I don’t know. I’m just out here doing whatever I can,” Pierre-Paul said. “As of right now, I’m doing whatever I can to help the team. That’s all.”
The Giants re-signed Pierre-Paul this offseason to a lucrative four-year deal that includes $40 million guaranteed.
Pierre-Paul, 28, was set to become a free agent this offseason, but the Giants used the franchise tag to keep him with the organization that selected him in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. He likely would have attracted a lot of interest had he hit the open market.
When asked about a report that the Dallas Cowboys were interested, Pierre-Paul didn’t seem surprised.
“Yes. A lot of teams were interested in me I’m pretty sure,” he said. “I’m here. That’s the most important part.”
Pierre-Paul had seven sacks in 12 games last season. It was a significant improvement from the previous year, when he had one sack in eight games after having his right index finger amputated following a fireworks accident.
“Yes, definitely. I think the best is yet to come,” Pierre-Paul said. “Like I said, I love this game. I wouldn’t trade anything for it. Still blessed to be playing this game. I’m just ready to bring it. I feel much better. My weight is 265. I think I’m going to play at that weight. I came in at 290 my rookie year … 290 to now.”
He lost weight on his own volition, thinking he would benefit by being faster and what he considered stronger.
“I’m older. When you get older, you can’t stay the same,” Pierre-Paul said. “You can’t eat the same. You have to change.
“Football consists of changing. You have to change things to get better. That’s what I’m doing.”